Integrated crop livestock systems in sub-Saharan Africa: An option or an imperative?
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Rapid growth of the human and livestock populations in sub-Saharan Africa is creating unprecedented increases in food and feed demands. These population pressures on a fixed landbase are likely to promote severe competition for resources and drive agriculture progressively towards intensification. Integrated crop livestock systems, already common in the highlands, are expected to evolve rapidly elsewhere. Research is required to develop technological alternatives which promote better resource use through synergies from crop livestock integration. Maintenance of soil fertility and provision of livestock feeds appear to be the main areas of reciprocal benefits, while animal traction may be an option for increasing land and labour productivity. In this paper, we assess the challenge facing sub-Saharan agriculture and the potential contribution of crop livestock integrated systems towards agricultural growth and sustainability.